5 Keys To Efficiency With Green Building
Green building, also referred to as eco building, is at the cutting edge of building design and development. It involves the use of green building materials and techniques to create highly efficient and environmentally friendly buildings. The main goals of green building are highlighted bellow:
- Design efficiency
- Energy efficiency
- Water efficiency
- Material efficiency
- Waste efficiency & reduction
When producing the initial design concept, the architect must ensure that the building’s environmental impact remains minimal throughout its life cycle.
Low energy bills and CO2 emissions benefit both the owner and the environment. Insulating both the building’s roof and walls will reduce the amount of heat lost to the atmosphere and strategically positioned glazed areas and solar tunnels reduce the need for internal lighting. Gaining energy by natural means through the use of wind turbines or solar panels reduces bills further. If an excess of energy is produced, it can be sold back to the national grid, providing the owner with extra income! Air tight buildings such as passive houses possess an air pumping system to ventilate the building; injecting cool air from outside and extracting hot dirty air. This process means there is little need for climate control systems resulting in a drastic reduction of energy bills and CO2 emissions.
Decreasing water consumption and maintaining water quality is a crucial goal in green building. The ability to gather, use, recycle and replenish water supplies on site has great environmental benefits and again reduces costs. Low flow bathroom and kitchen fixtures and appliances also reduce the amount of water wastage.
Materials obtained from sustainable sources are essential in green building. This includes purchasing timber which has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council who promote forest management and good environmental practices worldwide. Uncontrolled deforestation has a serious impact on the local wildlife and of course climate change. Although sometimes unconventional, fast growing materials such as bamboo (previously mentioned in the GDI blog) can also be utilised as stocks can be replenished much faster than standard timbers. Recycled materials may also be considered such as stone/slate, polystyrene and compressed paper chips. When ordering in materials, transport distances should also be considered. The further the distance from site the greater the volume of CO2 that will be produced when delivering the products.
Waste Efficiency & Reduction
When constructing a green building it is preferable to use components such as roof trusses and wall panels. Using these products decreases waste of materials as they are custom designed for the project which reduces or even eliminates offcuts. If recyclable materials have been used in its construction they can be recycled and used again at the end of the buildings life.
It is important for us all to consider the implications of our actions in regards to the environment. Producing highly efficient buildings and ensuring the products that we purchase come from sustainable sources is key. Developing and using these new green building materials and techniques is essential to ensure a healthy future.
Gould Design, Inc.